Homebridge’s key mission is to simplify the mortgage process for everyone involved. A big part of that is educating borrowers so that when the time is right, they’re prepared and the mortgage process goes as smoothly as possible.
During the last 25 years, one of the things we’ve consistently heard from our customers is that, while they want to buy a home, they simply didn’t realize all of the steps involved. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you get your financial house in order, before you start searching for the home of your dreams.
1. Start with our free mortgage calculator!
We reference this in many of our blog posts because it is an easy place to start and it can give you an estimate of what you’ll be paying over time. Keep in mind it does not take into account the equity earned through homeownership or other factors. Later on, you’ll want to speak with a loan originator about a free pre-approval, as well as your tax specialist or financial advisor.
2. Review your credit report and check your credit history.
Simply put, better credit scores can help you secure a better interest rate on your mortgage. Unfortunately, identity theft and credit card fraud are rampant in the U.S. and many of our borrowers don’t uncover issues until they’ve already sat down with us.
Credit issues can take time to resolve, so the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be in a better place. You can find more credit tips on our site here.
3. Eliminate debt and sign up for automatic bill payments.
Pay down your debt as soon as possible. Student loans or car payments won’t necessarily keep you from securing a mortgage, but proof that you’re making an effort to pay down your debt is something a mortgage lender will want to see.
Similarly, while we all make mistakes, missed payments on credit cards or loans may have a negative effect on your credit history. For recurring bills, such as your mobile phone, a student loan or gym membership, sign up for automatic bill payments so your bills get paid on time, month after month, without issue.
4. Don’t cancel any credit cards and try not to make major financial changes.
As annoying as it may be to have cards laying around you no longer use, don’t cancel them. Canceling credit cards can shorten your credit history and hurt your credit score. Consider filing the cards away in a safe place or even cutting them up if you don’t want to be tempted to use them.
5. Make sure you’re able to get your paperwork ready!
When you do find the right home for you, you’ll need to provide a mortgage lender with a few documents so they can process your application. Some of them are basic and usually easy to find, such as your driver’s license and social security card. Other documentation may take longer to produce, such as statements from all of your money-related assets (mutual funds, 401(k) plans, etc.), proof of military service if you’re applying for a VA loan, and tax returns from the last few years.
You can find a list of documents you’ll need here.
The path to buying a home can be easy and exciting or difficult and frustrating. It all depends on how much preparation you do in advance.
Need more advice? Setup a free consultation with one of our local mortgage loan originators. There’s no fee for the meeting and you won’t be obligated to work with HomeBridge if you do decide to purchase a home. A list of our local branches can be found online here.
If we don’t have a branch in your neighborhood, you can get started here.